Annyeonghaseyo! This post might be a surprise to you because so far, my blog has been about nothing but books. I still enjoy book blogging, but I want to widen my horizons by writing about my other passions or interests, such as K dramas and K-pop music. Today, I’ll be reviewing The Time We Were Not in Love (also known as The Time I’ve Loved You), which is a contemporary K drama that I finished around two months ago. It’s been quite a while, but the story is still fresh in my mind because it stars one of my favorite Korean actresses, Ha Ji-won. In light of her royal aura and beauty, it’s no wonder that she has lots of admirers. The leading man, Lee Jin-wook, is charming in his own way; he’s also one of the reasons why I enjoyed the drama.
Essentially, The Time We Were Not in Love depicts how best friendship can eventually blossom into something more. It follows Oh Hana (Ha Ji-won) and Choi Won (Lee Jin-wook), young professionals who have been friends for 17 years. The former is a progressive team leader in a fashion company, while the latter is a super amiable flight attendant. Since both of them are very passionate about their careers, they barely have time for romance. Strangely, their romantic relationships with other people are always unsuccessful. Hence, both of them remain unmarried at the age of 34. Really, it’s obvious that Oh Hana and Choi Won are perfect for each other. However, before they reach blissful enlightenment, Oh Hana’s annoying ex-boyfriend named Cha Seo-Hoo (Yoon Kyun-sang) gets in the way and decides that he wants her back. Stress and complications ensue, making viewers wonder if a happily ever after is even possible.
If you’ve been reading my book reviews, you probably know that I utterly dislike instalove. I am not a fan of love at first sight because I cannot fathom how it can happen in real life. With that in mind, I enjoyed The Time We Were Not in Love mainly because Oh Hana and Choi Won’s relationship was very organic. Since they had been friends since they were in high school, they knew each other’s strengths, flaws, and more. It was funny how they could read each other like an open book; it made it impossible for them to keep secrets. The only thing that threatened to eliminate their mutual transparency was Cha Seo-Hoo, the infamous ex-boyfriend. In totality, the validity or authenticity of Oh Hana and Choi Won’s love could not be questioned because it was founded on much history.
Another thing I liked was the chemistry between Oh Hana and Choi Won. Their unique and fascinating personalities complemented each other and made the scenes seem so natural. Interestingly, the same could be said of their physical appearances. Just looking at their pictures now makes me smile with fondness. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who can see the sparks flying. I wouldn’t object if Ha Ji-won and Lee Jin-wook ended up together in real life. Hahaha.
Oh Hana and Choi Won were very likable characters. I particularly admired Oh Hana because as far as her career was concerned, she wasn’t someone to be trifled with. After one of her colleagues “stole” her boyfriend, Oh Hana retained her dignity and just moved forward. All in all, Oh Hana wasn’t a catty woman, but she wasn’t a pushover, either. (According to a reliable source, Ha Ji-won generally doesn’t portray weak characters.)
As for Choi Won, I was fond of him because he wasn’t the typical chaebol (rich dude) that I often see in K dramas. He had a very at-home, happy-go-lucky personality that counterbalanced Oh Hana’s workaholic tendencies. Furthermore, he was practically Oh Hana’s guardian angel; he was the perfect obstruction to Cha Seo-Hoo’s advances, and he never failed to show up whenever she needed a ride after getting drinking too much. Sometimes, Choi Won was selfless to a fault, constantly putting Oh Hana’s happiness over his own.
The last thing that I liked about The Time We Were Not in Love was the family dynamics. I loved that Oh Hana had a healthy relationship with her parents (and unemployed brother). Most of the characters in the books I read have either bad or neglectful parents, so it was refreshing to take a break from that dreadful trope by watching this drama. Choi Won did have a neglectful mom, but I wasn’t annoyed because reconciliation was eventually achieved. I hope that I will find more Korean dramas that depict strong family bonds.
Truth be told, my only problem with this K drama was Oh Hana’s indecisiveness. Her character arc was inconsistent because it involved both development and regression. I was annoyed that she succumbed to Cha Seo-Hoo, who was actually an infidel. I expected her to be wiser than that, especially since she was always with the vigilant Choi Won. If Oh Hana hadn’t listened to her unreliable heart, she would’ve avoided much pain and stress. True love was already waiting right in front of her, but she was too infatuated with the past to see it. I was so happy when she finally stopped being so dense.
Ultimately, I gave The Time We Were Not in Love 4.5 out of 5 stars. I genuinely enjoyed it because of the great characters, touching family dynamics, and realistic romance. It’s not a K drama that warrants binge watching, but I highly recommend it to anyone looking for meaningful entertainment. Chalga! 😀